They may or may not be gay or Parisian, but Sydney’s Gay Paris sure know how to party. We caught up with frontman Luke "Wailin’ H" Monks to have a colourful chat about jerking off, body chemistry and Pomeranians called Bo Outlaw.
Hi there, please start out by telling us your name, what you play in Gay Paris and your liquor of choice?
Hey there, squires and slatterns, My name is WH Monks, resident loud mouth and tale teller in Gay Paris. As far as liquor goes, I’ll take whatever is free and easy. My last hard liquor related hangover was due to a generous jager rider – I rode.
Can you tell us a bit about how the band got together?
Barring the new addition of Six Guns Simpson, replacement for Smokin’ D on the kit, we’d all played in various bands together before this whole thing went down. We’d lived together for a decade, studying each others habits and learning how to meld not only mind and body, but soul as well. Mystical, right? Well, we believe in science too, so don’t even trip. We probably have some kind of synchronicity in our body chemistry.
What would you say are the band’s main influences, musically or otherwise?
I try to ignore the others as much as possible these days, but I would think that due to the fact that we’ve got members who have played punk, rock, funk, death metal, hip-hop and all other manner of weird miscellany in this group, one could say that the musical influence ranges from Parliament and Mastodon through to The Birthday Party and The Hives. A healthy dose of insomnia and fear of the dark (which tie up neatly) has got me to where I am today, not to mention some amusing reactions to sedatives used to counteract these largely disruptive influences.
You guys released your debut album “The Skeleton’s Problematic Granddaughter” just recently. How has the response to the record been so far?
Hard to know – we sold all our merch on the first four dates of this tour, which is good, but we probably underestimated how much we’d need. People got greedy. Well done. Reviews have been largely positive, though I really don’t understand some of the comparisons: RHCP and Chrome Division? Put that down to experience, everyone’s world is only so big and the need to qualify and ‘understand’ what something is like without actually having to deal with it looms large in most people. Broaden your horizons, jerk.
The album was recorded with Dave Hammer. Can you tell us a bit more about what the writing and recording process was like for this release?
Hammer is insane. I love him, but dude is crazy. That said, he can pull sounds like no one else. Also, if you believe what he tells you, he owns a pretty sweet set of cock and balls. The genesis for this record is ancient by today’s standards – some of the riffs are five years old or more and the lyrics were pretty much done before we even formed this band. It just took a very long time to get it all together, find direction and learn how to be a live band. The recording took too long. Enough said.
At the moment the band’s embarking on the 4 Drink Minimum Tour. How has it gone so far? Any highlights?
Every show is a highlight and a blackout. Vicious and strange. I’ve really ripped into Sydney lately, in public and private – the enthusiasm that people show for a party band in Melbourne, Adelaide and Wollongong (Sydney’s unemployable yet charming little brother) is mind boggling. Sure, we have some fans up in the home town that come and get down every single time, and I love them for it, but for people who have never seen you before to be willing to leap on stage and gyrate on one’s chest until a dude has carpet burn on his shoulders, well, that’s what I want from everybody, everywhere, every damn time.
In July Gay Paris will play Blood Sweat and Beers number 5, alongside your mates The Snowdroppers and heaps of other killer bands. Are you anticipating some wild times will be had at those shows?
Wild is a given for us, and, realistically, I’ve probably seen most of the dudes from at least half of these bands doing terrible, terrible things. I just hope that someone documents the antics in a way that will make the shame permanent rather than a lingering feeling of guilt that lasts until the perp has jerked off, taken a shower and eaten something greasy. Better jerk off twice, dude.
Your live act has a reputation for some madness to say the least. What can people who’ve never seen you expect from these upcoming dates?
We’ll take your drinks, feel up the ladies, make out with the dudes, disrobe, annoy the shit out of the sound guy, get the bar staff to buy us drinks, take ages in sound check, turn up way too loud, congratulate ourselves on stage, make jokes that no one else will understand, challenge you to a dance off/rap battle, try to buy you a drink after the show, give away our clothes and try to take yours, act bashful while having really arrogant thoughts. Also, we play songs, because this is a band of musicians doing musician stuff.
With the Annandale up for sale, what are your thoughts on the state of live music in Sydney?
I want to move to Melbourne.
If you could create a rock n roll supergroup with any members – alive, old, or dead, who would they be?
If you immediately disqualify Gay Paris members, alive, old or dead, I’d really like to hear John Darnielle and Aesop Rock do some more stuff together, maybe with Nick Cave, Warren Ellis and Blockhead handling production/composition.
Other than the hefty schedule of shows you have in the coming months, what does the rest of 2011 hold for Gay Paris?
We’re writing/re-writing the next Gay Paris record and working on a group ‘side-project’ that may or may not be ready before the next actual album. Furthermore, we’re trying to rope our buddies, God God Dammit Dammit and Totally Unicorn into an unholy threeway, though I’m not really sure to what end – a split? A tour? The best worst house party ever? Trust us, we have some weird shit up our sleeves. Mainly shit. Also weird.
Cheers for your time, any final thoughts?
I really like Pomeranians. I wish someone would buy me a black one. I would call it Bo Outlaw if it was a dude and Saiyomi Shimizu if it was a chick. Awesome.
Thanks man! See you at a show very soon.